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Reviews

The Amusement Park
(1975)

Overhyped junk
When I first heard George Romero had squirreled away this movie where it couldn't be viewed my first thought was that it was probably awful. In hindsight, this was an understatement.

The Amusement Park comes across as an extended student film that tries to be clever but winds up being both predictable and dull. It doesn't help that the film's introduction basically tells you what you're about to see, making the viewing experience somewhat redundant, and the overblown in-your-face visuals combined with the non-stop cacophonous screaming on the soundtrack makes the 53 minute running time seem like a day and a half.

The "restoration" clearly ran out of money at some point as constant scratches and wildly uneven color balancing totally destroy any concentration the viewer might attempt - not that there's anything to really concentrate on. The bottom line is that it's a bombastic assault of both image and sound that's somehow supposed to indicate that society's elderly are getting a raw deal. And it fails spectacularly in attempting to communicate this sensitive theme.

It makes for nice marketing to imply that the film's financiers found the finished work to be too unsettling, gruesome, horrifying (all of which were used in the ballyhoo trumpeting this film's release,) but in truth it's just not a very good movie and really should've been kept hidden indefinitely.

But, since George's name has a dollar value attached to it and he's no longer a meal ticket to certain people, it's not surprising that this "discovery" was plucked from its dark closet, hurriedly patched together (by the talented colorist of such complex works as Pawn Stars, no less,) and auctioned off to the highest bidder as a "lost" Romero classic.

But the fanboys will still throw money at it because it's "George A. Romero" and they couldn't care less about being bilked as long as their obsession is fed.

The things greedy people do to make money . . it gets no more shameful than this.

Widow's Point
(2019)

How to destroy a great book
I wish I could rate this with negative numbers . .

The fact that this hack filmmaker has the audacity to take a "Written By" credit on this cinematic sewage should tell you everything you need to know.

While the exceptional novel by Richard and Billy Chizmar is indeed listed, Greg Lamberson does not acknowledge this wretched opus as an adaptation or take a simple "screenplay by" credit. He opts instead for "Written and Directed by" - which means he is the one solely to blame for this muckfest.

The opening drone shot (and, boy, does it drone . .) sets the stage in that it's blatantly obvious that rather than the lonely, atmospheric, isolated lighthouse so beautifully crafted in the book has been replaced by some crappy tourist-trap obviously located in a public park, probably ten steps away from the local Denny's.

The ham-fisted utter lack of filmmaking "skill" continues throughout as this talentless auteur just shoots the locations as they are, with absolutely no thought or imagination used to create any atmosphere of dread or supernatural ambiance at all; and after the first few minutes it's blatantly obvious that he hasn't the cranial matter to even conceive such concepts.

I get that it's low budget, but we've all seen micro-budgeted films that utilize style and ingenuity to more than make up for their lack of resources . . but this guy couldn't care less about such trivialities as mood or tone. Indeed, the "night" scenes in the one-window lighthouse room (which is so cheap it looks like flats borrowed from a kiddie TV show) are so bright it appears to be broad daylight. With a lantern clearly in evidence, you'd think they'd go for stark shadows or threatening-looking props looming out of the darkness . . but no, the supposedly spooky scenes in this room were as bright as the Jolly Holiday in Mary Poppins . .One can only presume they didn't know how to shoot a dark scene with digital equipment, so they just lit the heck out of it instead . . so what if it kills the mood, right? So what if they're in a room that hasn't been entered in 70 years and there's not so much as a speck of dust or a single cobweb. It's haunted, right? So even the spiders and dust bunnies shy away . .

I feel badly for the director's daughter, whom he decided to thrust into a key role. She tries, but clearly does not have the acting chops to pull it off (neither, for that matter, does anybody else in this hellish monstrosity,) and her father, the director, does NOTHING to help the poor kid's performance and pretty much betrays any trust she might've had in him. However, again, this is not an isolated incident as all the actors come off as AWFUL, which means they got no direction as the "director" was too busy trying to figure out what he was doing.

Bottom line - - read the book, skip the movie. As the director's previous features generally average a 4 or below on IMDB's rating system, this stinkbomb should surprise no one. Ten bucks says the only high ratings posted for this film were written by the filmmakers themselves.

Creepshow: A Creepshow Animated Special: Survivor Type/Twittering from the Circus of the Dead
(2020)

Makes Clutch Cargo look like Fantasia
The term "animated special" is somewhat misleading for this show since nothing is really "animated" at all in the common usage of the word.

Yes, there are drawings and the camera moves across them, and they do change from one to another every now and then, but that's about as close as it gets. There's more movement in an old console pac man game.

Now, you'd think that since all the artists have to do is DRAW a scene, rather than build sets, hire actors and shoot it like a regular movie, you'd be able to add a sense of epicness or scale since there's virtually no real expense for materials or resources. . . well. . . you'd be wrong. There are literally TWO voice actors used for the entire 45 minute show, both of which should be ashamed of themselves for the kind of hammy overacting that hasn't been seen (or rather heard) for a couple of generations.

There is literally nothing to recommend about this moronic episode . . other than that the series be canceled as soon as possible or hire a less incompetent staff who knows what they're doing.

Youtube animations from 10 year old kids with no money are a thousand times better than this mess.

The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two
(2020)

Did grown adults make this?
2018 - "Hey, let's do a movie about Santa being stuck on earth on Christmas and he needs this dysfunctional family's help to get the presents delivered!"

2020 - "Hey, let's do another Santa movie, except this time let's take out everything that made it work the first time, throw in a ton of questionable CGI in every freakin' shot and let's gear it toward little kids . . and THEN, let's litter the entire movie with subtitles THAT THEY CAN'T READ!! That oughta work, right??"

Total mess . . it's like a horribly animated CGI version of Gremlins, written and directed by the guy who wrote . . . (wait for it . . ) GREMLINS!!!!

Way to go, one-trick-pony . . .

Creepshow
(2019)

Boring and Inept
Supposedly this show had a budget of 2 million dollars per episode - supposedly. I'm presuming most of that money went to the 15 or 16 producers listed because it surely is not on the screen.

To call the first two episodes tedious is paying them a compliment. In the first one alone literally nothing happens until the last couple of minutes and even then the mood is destroyed by an anti-climax which makes no sense whatsoever. The director makes the typical amateur mistake of never allowing the camera to move - EVER - which adds to the staged phoniness of the piece. Combine that with the obvious lack of money to spend (for example, a massive hurricane which consists of a couple of shots of flashing clouds and a couple of actors hit with a fan - no rain whatsoever anywhere, mind you . .) and you've got a millennial version of the low-rent Tales from the Darkside, which it clearly aspires to be.

The highly publicized "Creep" puppet looks like a fire-sale Spirit Halloween leftover, with cross-eyed mechanics and a barely mobile "ack-ack" mouth as its sole range of movement. According to fan sites, a ton of money was spent on this prop, which could easily have been surpassed by a cheap sock puppet . . the Crypt Keeper has nothing to worry about, (and still, an even WORSE version of the character was computer-generated for the title sequence for some strange reason in a wonderful example of throwing good money after bad.)

Neither story made any sense at all and both had ridiculous endings to tie them up, as though the production said "screw it, we're out of money, just tear the last few pages out." For Stephen King to be associated with this in any way is a travesty.

Still, I'm sure old fanboys will gush over this as it's clearly a love-letter to the 1980s when floppy rubber monsters were considered the height of technology. The fact that the makeup department got credited FOUR TIMES during the course of the end credits is a sure indication that's all they cared about.

Watch the original movie instead and pretend this monstrosity doesn't exist . . it'll only make you weep.

Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich
(2018)

What a mess
A complete slap in the face to any fan of the original Puppet Master movies.

In the original films, the Puppet Master himself, Andre Toulon, was a Frenchman who took revenge on the Nazis for killing his wife, using his various puppets whom he brought to life to destroy them.

Now, however, Toulon IS a Nazi for some inexplicable reason - and not only a Nazi, but a scarred Red Skull ripoff Nazi because - why not? And rather than the puppets fighting the bad guys, now they just murder individuals the Nazis consider "undesirable," - which naturally means pretty much everybody but let's include more lesbians than anyone else because they look better naked, right?

Total waste of time - avoid at all costs.

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